Wildlife sanctuary a possibility in Bassett


    BASSETT, Va. (WSET) -- Wildlife you may never see elsewhere, could find a new home in Henry County within the next year.

    Jessica Collins is the Founder and President of Collins Wolf and Wildlife Sanctuary, which is a non-profit she started last year.

    She hopes to build the sanctuary on land on off of Mary Hunter Drive in Bassett.

    "We're going to rescue essentially animals from other sanctuaries and zoos," Collins said.

    When animals are abused, neglected or there is a lack of space for them, Collins said they need a new home.

    "And we want to be that new home for them," she said.

    The land where Collins would like to build the sanctuary is 103 acres.

    Collins said they will have large american carnivores at the site.

    "We're looking for wolves, bears, large cats, wild cats, cougars and birds of prey," she said. "We hope to have bald eagles, golden eagles, falcons and hawks."

    The Henry County Planning Commission has agreed to rezone the land, which would allow Collins to build her dream.

    But Planning Zoning and Inspection Director Lee Clark said the Henry County Board of Supervisors must also approve.

    They will vote on the zoning change at their next meeting, July 24th, at 6 p.m.

    "As long as it is built properly, maintained properly, run properly, I think it certainly could be an asset to this community," Clark said.

    There are a small number of residents near by, but the way Collins described this being developed to the Planning Commission and Clark, they would be a good distance away from the animals.

    "There'd be quite a large buffer from where she would establish these areas where the animals are kept," Clark said.

    Collins said it is not about the money, but how many people they can educate about the animals.

    "It's about bringing the realities of animals to people that may not see these on a normal day."

    Collins said she hopes to open the sanctuary by next Memorial Day, but it is going to cost around $250,000 to do so.

    She said they are looking for help from the community to help provide this sanctuary for the animals in Bassett.

    If you would like to donate to help build and house these animals, you can head to Collins Wolf and Wildlife Sanctuary's website.

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